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Course of Study

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree requires 30 graduate hours, made up of four required core courses and six electives. While students have the flexibility to shape their own curriculum through their choice of projects within the core classes and through their selection of electives, the program offers three areas of emphasis: American Studies, International Studies, and Leadership and Public Service.

While many graduate courses are scheduled in the evenings to accommodate students who work full-time, this degree may be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis.

Core Classes

MALS 600: Core Seminar

This course serves as an introduction to the concept of interdisciplinary graduate study by exploring a broad topic through various disciplinary lenses. 

MALS 650: Graduate Research Methods

This course introduces students to the skills necessary to explore a range of topics suitable for study in the program. 

MALS 700: Graduate Writing, Documentation, and Presentation

This course allows students to hone the composition and presentation skills necessary to complete a major project in their area of study.

MALS 799: Capstone Experience

This capstone course stands as the culmination of the program, wherein the student, with the guidance of an academic mentor, will complete a culminating project, sometimes in the form of a traditional thesis, but sometimes in alternative (but equally significant) configurations based on the student’s plan of study and academic interests.


Elective Classes

Interdisciplinary Electives

MALS 610: American Studies

This course investigates what it means to be American and identifies how those meanings have changed over time. Students will explore materials used in a multitude of disciplines and will be asked to interpret such documents as historical primary sources, literary works, films, photographs, music, and art.

MALS 635: International Studies

This interdisciplinary graduate course focuses on an issue (environmentalism, globalization, humanitarian relief efforts, peace studies, etc.) of international importance.

MALS 671: Leadership in the Public Sphere

This interdisciplinary graduate course focuses on the legal, social, and/or ethical issues that confront public leaders, both fictional and historical. Emphasis is placed on the rhetoric, political tactics, and organizational techniques that leaders use to navigate through and solve the problems they face.

MALS 679: Studies in World Film

This course gives students the opportunity to study masterworks of world film and to explore how these works are connected to broader cultural, social, and historical processes. This course will also explore important monuments of film criticism and theory. 

WGST 625: Gender and Sexuality in the United States

This graduate seminar is an interdisciplinary introduction to some of the central topics in American gender and sexuality studies, such as protests, movements and revolutions in American sexuality; modern masculinity and sexual violence; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies; gender socialization, gender communication, gender identity and gender performance; feminist philosophy, epistemology, and political theory; and the intersection of race, class, and gender in relation to personal identity, historical events, and cultural studies. 

WGST 630: Gender and Sexuality: A Global Perspective

This graduate seminar is an interdisciplinary introduction to some of the central topics in global gender and sexuality studies. These may include the representation of transnational gender, sexuality, and eroticism; transnational sexual economy, sexual protests, movements and revolutions (including decolonization and poverty); “sexual rights” discourse and legislative practices worldwide; activism, laws, and citizenship; sex work and trafficking, HIV/AIDS organizing, tourism and travel; transnational feminism, postcolonial theory, and the intersection of race, nationality, class, and gender; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer global immigration laws, identity, and nationalisms.


Disciplinary-specific Electives

ANTH 540: Seminars in Current Archaeological Issues

Selected topics of major concern to the practical conduct of archaeological research.

ANTH 541/2: Field Problems in Archaeology

A spring-summer sequence consisting of class work followed by a field session. Research design, field methods, interpretation of data and the development of theory from these data. Methods of relating a specific problem in a given area to more general considerations.

ANTH 591: Selected Topics

Topics in anthropology of special interest but which are too specific to be served by an established course.

ARTH 692: Critiquing the Museum

This course critically evaluates the institution of the museum. What functions do museums serve? What relationships do they have with their communities? Are their priorities to preserve, conserve, display, educate, or something else? Who are their audiences? What role does the physical space play in determining audience reception? What role does a museum play in determining social values? Do museums have an ethical responsibility to society? Depending on when it is offered, this course may sometimes include travel to museums in cities within the United States or abroad.

COMM 675: Communication Theory & Practice

This course surveys the Communication field and representative theories. Students research communication from both humanities and social science perspectives through analysis, critique, and reflection. This course provides students with tools to enhance communication skills and develop communication messages and events.

ENGL 666: Studies in World Literature

This course gives students the opportunity to read masterworks of literature and critical theory from across cultures and to explore how these works are connected to broader cultural, social and historical processes. This course will also explore connections between literature and other arts such as painting, music, and film.

ENGL 669: Studies in American Literature

This course gives students the opportunity to read literary texts and critical theory that engage with concepts of Americanness from a variety of cultural viewpoints and to explore how these texts are connected to broader intellectual, social, and historical processes. This course will also explore connections between literature and other arts such as painting, photography, architecture, music, and film.

HIST 501: World History for Secondary Instruction

Overview of current World History curriculum and pedagogy for secondary school instruction.

HIST 505: United States History for Secondary School Instructors

Study of the emergence of humans up to the Agricultural Revolution and an examination in greater depth of the developments in human history from 1600 to 2001 (from the emergence of modernity to the post-9/11 world). Instruction will be selective and topical, emphasizing the origin and development of the great world civilizations, the philosophical heritages of Europe and Asia, the artistic and literary expressions that defined modernity, and the impact of global exploration, trade, conquest, and colonization.

HIST 528: Renaissance and Reformation Europe

An examination of the most recent scholarly literature on Renaissance and Reformation Europe (c. 1300-

1648). Emphasis is on how the Renaissance and Reformation contributed to the development of the modern world, particularly with regard to such concepts as individualism, capitalism, nationalism, and the scientific revolution.

HIST 592/593/594: Special Topics in History

In depth readings and research selected in historical subjects; themes and/or methods not currently or regularly available in the graduate history curriculum.

HIST 631: Issues in Southern History

A survey of the basic historical literature, issues, and the interpretation of the development of Southern society as a distinctive section of the United States.

HIST 755: Issues in Twentieth-Century United States History

A survey of the basic historical literature, issues, and the interpretations of the American experience from the Age of Progressivism to present day.

HIST 770: Latin American History

Readings in selected topics in Latin American history.

MUED 560: World Music

Study of important musical genres and practices outside the direct influence of Western practice and history. Some of the world’s great musical and cultural traditions are experienced through performance, analysis, and discussion of the music within the greater context of the society. Ancillary topics include religion, philosophy, language patterns, cultural history and traditional customs.

MUED 599: Special Topics in Music

Specific analysis of crucial issues in the field as they exist and emerge in the future. Provides an opportunity for student to do in-depth study of specific areas of concern.

PHIL 610: Advanced Moral Issues

This course is aimed at familiarizing liberal arts Masters’ students with specific current issues in a philosophically and ethically rigorous way. After an introduction to ethical principles and theories, students will investigate particular subject areas. Possible topics may include intellectual property rights, ethics of war, race and racism, gender and sexism, media ethics, and more. A larger project will be the culmination of the class.

POLI 501: Contemporary Issues in International Relations

Intensive study of selected global problems.

POLI 532: International Relations of the Middle East

An examination of the relations among the Middle Eastern states and great power impact on them. Special attention is given to national politics of oil, and pan-Arabism.

POLI 534: Contemporary East Asian Politics

This course is designed to offer an intensive study on domestic politics of four major East Asian countries (China, Japan, South Korea, and North Korea) and their international relations. While these countries' historical and cultural background is introduced at the beginning of this course, our major focus is on their politics and international relations in the post-WWII era.

POLI 535: Globalization

A survey of the various theories and issues surrounding the process of globalization and anti-globalization within the study of international relations. The course will draw on historical, economic, financial, cultural, and political issue areas of globalization in a multitude of world regions.

POLI 539: International Law

Study of the origin, development, and principles of the international law of peace. The enforcement of these principles, the law of war, and the pacific settlement of disputes is presented. Students who have completed POLI 439 are not eligible for this course.

POLI 560: Advanced American Government

Survey course in American government. A content-based course that examines the fundamental

principles and major institutions of American government.

POLI 561: Advanced Public Policy

This course is an advanced exploration of the nature of public policy in the U.S. Topics include theories and models of policy making, policy formation and implementation by political institutions, and the formation of the policy agenda. A significant focus is placed on the content and design of policy in selected areas, including health, education, welfare, criminal justice, and environmental policy.

RELG 600: Advanced Topics in World Religions

This course is an advanced study of a selected topic in one or more of the world’s religious traditions. Topics may include mysticism, saints, religion and society, sacred space, buildings and iconography, focusing on specific practices, traditions, and texts.

RELG 601: Topics in Southern Religion

This seminar course surveys the evolution of religion in the South from its beginnings to the arrival of new religions and movements in the twentieth century. This course reviews the formation of major denominational churches and their connection to social and political developments

SPAN 621: Seminar on Latin American Poetry

This course offers an intensive study of selected topics in order to develop critical approaches to the poetic text. It includes representative movements and authors.

THEA 695: International Theater Experience

In this course, students will be exposed to the world-class cultural activities and history of a city outside of the United States. Students will read plays and attend productions from theater and opera companies across the region, attending lectures, engaging in research and participating in tours and leisure events.